Archdiocese prepares for annual appeal

January 29, 2013

HOUSTON — Last October, Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated this as the “Year of Faith,” which calls all Catholics to deepen their understanding of the true faith and to develop their personal holiness to the highest degree possible. This gift of faith is given in and through the community of the Church.

Thousands of parishioners in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are called to demonstrate their gift of faith by supporting Daniel Cardinal DiNardo’s annual Diocesan Services Fund (DSF). The theme for the 2013 appeal, which begins the weekend of Feb. 2 and 3, is “Faith Working Through Love,” based on Galatians 5:6, which states:
“Bear one another’s burdens. And therefore you will fulfill…What is required of you in Christ.” 
“Our DSF theme is based on a beautiful reflection of Paul to the Galatian’s where we are asked to bear one another’s burdens,” said Cardinal DiNardo in a video to parishioners. “One of the ways we can have our acts of charity and carry other’s burdens is by supporting DSF. This is our faith working through love.”

This year’s DSF goal is $13,147,360. All funds raised through DSF are spent within Archdiocesan boundaries, with the exception of support for the Church’s missions in Guatemala. No funds are spent on general administrative expenses of the Chancery offices.

Through DSF, local Catholics have an opportunity to support 60-plus diocesan organizations and charitable ministries that receive much-needed financial resources. Despite tough economic times last year, the Archdiocese witnessed a strong response by area faithful through DSF. 

“Within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, many individuals and families continue to experience personal hardship due to various social circumstances and economic downturn,” said Cardinal DiNardo. “The ministries supported by the Diocesan Services Fund are able to assist those who need them because of the generosity of parishioners like you who contribute to DSF.”

Success stories, like Pakistani refugee Julie Aftab, who was brought to the United States after two men attacked her and threw battery acid on her face and body because she refused to denounce her belief in Jesus Christ, are examples of the impact DSF donations have on people’s lives.

That attack happened when she was only 16 years old in Faisalabad, Pakistan. She received asylum to the United States in 2004. After receiving medical care in Texas, where she continues undergo surgeries, she was recently sworn in as a U.S. citizen.

Houston resettlement agencies such as Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston ensure refugees are introduced to the society; children are enrolled in school and employable adults find employment and attend English classes. The DSF fund pays for these services.

“I’d like to thank God and all the people who donated to DSF. For them it’s just a little bit of money, but for me it’s a second chance,” Aftab said.

For more than 90 years, San José Clinic has been providing health care to more than 4,000 hardworking Houstonians and their families who do not have access to insurance. These are kids who need to get back to school, moms who need to stay healthy to take care of their families and dads who need to get back to work. 

“Our services include primary and specialty medical and dental care as well as laboratory, radiology and pharmacy services,” Paule Anne Lewis, president and chief executive officer of San José Clinic, said. “We are grateful for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s investment, as it ensures our continued growth and enables us to address the community-wide health care crisis. Together, we are building a healthier community.” 

Katherine Bingham, director of the Archdiocesan Office of Aging, said, “Each of us represents the hands of Christ in the everyday world. Each of us has gifts and talents we share with our family, our community and our church but we can’t be everywhere at once.”

The Office of Aging, also DSF funded, assists parishes in setting up programs for the benefit of older adults, offers workshops on aging issues and acts as an advocate on elder issues in the community. 

“We provide referral information when an aging parent can no longer live alone or when a parishioner is struggling with their duties as a family caregiver,” Bingham said. “It’s about putting our faith in action.”

Roberto Navarro, director of the Archdiocesan Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry, said young adults are the future of the Church. 
“In the last five years the Adult and Campus Ministry has grown tremendously. Programs have grown 250%,” he said. “Because of that reason alone, it is important that we invest into reaching those young adults that are part of our Archdiocese.”

These and all the other ministries are examples of ways to reach out to those that are in most need in our community. The achievement of the annual DSF goal ensures these ministries continue to thrive.

For more information, please visit to view the video for DSF. For a list of ministries supported by DSF, click here. To donate, click here.